Tony Perrett (Member for Gympie)
Tony Perrett (Member for Gympie) Frances Klein

Tony Perrett accuses ministers of farmer bashing

DESPERATION to hold on to their inner-city seats has driven two Labor ministers into "farmer bashing” and "distorting figures about vegetation clearing”, according to member for Gympie Tony Perrett.

Mr Perrett said dishonest claims were made by the deputy premier and minister for the environment despite vegetation across Queensland thickening faster than it is being cleared.

"The claims are nothing more than purely about saving their political skins by demonising regional landholders in order to appease the wealthy, unproductive inner city green zealots,” he said.

"It is pure electioneering by two left wing ministers who are trashing the reputations of farmers and landholders.

"Using emotive language and nonsense comparisons to paint a doomsday scenario the fearmongering over the release of the 2015-2016 Statewide Land and Tree Cover Study (SLATS) was true to form for the Labor Government which pays lip service to the regions.

"To bump up their figures over land clearing rates they included such practices as fodder harvesting to feed starving livestock, and clearing firebreaks and fence lines as 'broad scale land clearing'.

"There was no consideration of vegetation thickening rates or acknowledgement that farmers are already unable to clear remnant vegetation.

"Not considering thickening rates is like watching the tide go out and then claiming the sea water has disappeared.”

Mr Perrett said that he was not aware of any broad scale clearing in the Gympie region.

"As a landholder and grazier my observation is that it is thickening faster than it can be controlled in areas that have previously been cleared, or had absolutely no history of clearing,” Mr Perrett said.

"Living in their inner city concrete jungles you just have to wonder whether the Ministers and green activists understand the concept that plants and vegetation actually regenerate.

"If they do know that, then this is nothing more than a deliberate, manipulative and calculatingly dishonest attack in a relentless campaign against regional Queensland.

"Selectively using data and ignoring the gaping holes in the SLATS report, which did not contain data that provides clear context to the extent of vegetation management activities, was just too convenient for the Minsters who rely on green preferences for their seats.

"About 50% of Queensland is covered by woody vegetation, so the vegetation management activities in this SLATS report represents just 0.23% of the state.

"If you just consider the area of Queensland covered by woody vegetation, the total management footprint represents about 0.45% of that area - which is still less than 1%.”